The Astronomy, Technology and Space Science News Podcast.
SpaceTime with Stuart Gary Series 24 Episode 36
*Is the nearest star cluster to the Sun being destroyed by dark matter?
Data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia star mapping satellite has revealed tantalising evidence that the Hyades open star cluster -- the nearest star cluster to the Sun -- is being destroyed by the gravitational influence of a massive but unseen structure in our galaxy.
*More air leaks in the Russian section of the space station
The crew aboard the International Space Station have once again resorted to using tea leaves to try and find more air leaks in the Russian Zvezda module.
*Starlink reaches over 1300 satellites
SpaceX has launched another 60 Starlink satellites as it continues to build its record setting broadband constellation.
The star nearest the Sun, The Southern Cross, and the Lyrids meteor shower.
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SpaceTime 20210402 Series 24 Episode 36 Transcript
[00:00:00] This is space time series 24 episode 36, four broadcast. On the 2nd of April, 2021. Coming up on space. Time is the nearest star closer to the sun being destroyed by dark matter, more leaks in the Russian section of the international space station. And the Starlink constellation now consist of more than 1300 satellites.
Oh that a mole coming up on space time. Welcome to space time with Stuart, Gary.
Data from the European space agencies, Gaia star mapping, satellite as revealed tantalizing evidence that the Haiti star cluster, the nearest star cluster to the earth is being destroyed by the [00:01:00] gravitational influence of a massive but unseen structure within our own Milky way. Galaxy, if true, it could provide the first tantalizing evidence of a suspected population of so-called dark matter sub halos.
These invisible hypothetical clouds of dark matter particles. I thought there'd be real effects from the formation of the Milky way more than 12 and years ago. And now spread across the globe Lexi making up an invisible substructure that exerts a noticeable gravitational influence on anything that drifts too close.
ISA research fellow Teresa Europe, covert together with colleagues from ISA and the European Southern observatory made the discovery while studying the way a nearby star cluster. The Hades is merging into the general background stars of our galaxy. The team chose the Haiti simply because it is the nearest star cluster to the sun.
It's located just over 153 light years away and is easily visible in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres as a conspicuous [00:02:00] V-shape of bright stars that marks the head of the bull and the constellation tourists beyond the easily visible BrightStars telescopes can reveal more than a hundred faintest stars or contained in a spherical region of space.
Roughly 60 light years across star clusters are thought to be made of stars, which originally all formed at the same time. But they're only loosely gravitationally bound. So they'll naturally lose stars over time because the stars moving within the class that gravitationally, perturbed each other, this constant tugging gradually changes the status.
Velocities moving some towards the edge of the class there. And from there, the stars are swept out by the gravitational pull of the galaxy forming too long, still at trails. One of the star trails trails, the cluster. Well, the other pools out ahead of it. These are known as titled tails and have been widely studied in colliding galaxies, but no one's ever seen them from a nearby open star cluster until very recently, [00:03:00] the key to detecting title tails is spotting with stars in the sky are moving in a similar way to the star cluster.
And that's where the guy space telescope comes in. It makes this easy because it precisely measures the distance and movement of more than a billion stars in the galaxy. Previous attempts only met with limited success because astronomers could really look at stars that closely already matched the movement of the star cluster.
And that would exclude members that lift earlier in the Hades 600 to 700 million year history. And so, and now traveling on different orbits to understand the range of orbits, to look for the authors constructed a computer model that would simulate the various gravitational perturbations escaping stars.
And the costume might feel during their hundreds of millions of years in space. It was after running this code and then comparing this simulations with real data that the true extent of the Heidi's titled tails were revealed. In fact, the authors found thousands of former members in the guide data, [00:04:00] and these stars are stretching out for thousands of light years across the galaxy into enormous tidal tails.
But the real surprise was that the trading title tail seemed to be missing stars. And this indicates that something much more brutal it's taking place than the star cluster simply gently dissolving running the simulations. Again, the authors found that it showed that the data could be reproduced. If that tele collided with a cloud of matter in tanning, something like 10 million solar masses.
And the problem is there simply are no gas clouds or star clusters that massive nearby. So if no visible structures can be detected and feature targeted searches, the authors are left to speculate that it could mean that the mystery object could be a dark matter. Sub halo, hypothetical clumps of dark matter that are thought to help shape a galaxy during its formation.
It's all just an idea, but it is tantalizing. Nevertheless. This is space [00:05:00] time still, the calm, more air leaks discovered in the Russian section of the international space station. And the styling constellation now has more than 1300 satellites, all that, and more still to come. Um, space-time
the crew, the international space station have once again, resorted to using tea leaves to try and find more air leaks in the Russians Vesta module. This Vista service module includes the Russian sleeping quarters, galley, and bathroom. It's a key part of the orbiting. Our post cosmonauts have been searching for this latest leak for several weeks.
Now, there were first told to float thin strips of paper in the module. They try and pinpoint exactly where the leak could be that allowed them [00:06:00] to narrow it down to three possible locations, but they couldn't get any more precise than that. So mission managers, Moscow then instructed the Russian crew to try the old tealeaves trick.
Again, releasing the tea leaves in the module, which then inevitably slowly floated towards a small crack in the modules. How cosmonauts used adhesive tape to provide a temporary seal to the crack until patch can be applied, but there's still a problem because there's still a leak in Vesta somewhere else.
So needless to say, there'll be relying on tealeaves yet again. These latest dramas follow last year successfully count, which was also a trace to this Vista module that leak began when atmosphere was first detected, venting into space from the Albany outpost back in September, 2019, the problem was initially so minor.
They didn't worry about it too much, but gradually it began to get worse and worse. Mission managers were eventually [00:07:00] forced to order a concerted effort in August last year to try and find the source. And by October with the help of dried tea leaves, the Lake was traced to a scratch in the wolves, Vesta module, and a patch was applied using tape.
It's all pointing to a real problem with this Vesta module, which looks like it may, will, and truly have past its use by date, of course, leaks in Russian spacecraft and nothing new. Back in August, 2018, a two millimeter diameter, a drill hole was discovered in the orbital module of a Russian Soyuz capsule.
Dr. The space station, the Russians are refusing to admit anything, but it seems the hole was accidentally drilled into the side of the spacecraft during its manufacture and was then quickly patched up and painted over. The problem was then either ignored or simply overlooked during so-called quality control checks by Ross cosmos and the patch eventually failed in orbit, cosmonauts on the orbiting, our purser able to fix that hole using an [00:08:00] epoxy sealant as for the new hole they're looking for on this visitor.
Well, I guess it's all in the tea leaves. This is space time still the comm space X launches, another 60 Starling satellites bringing the constellation to more than 1300 satellites. And we look at the nearest star system to the sun lyrebirds Meteo shower and the Southern cross on April sky. Watch all that and more store to come.
Um, space time
space X has just launched another 60 Starlink satellites as it continues to build it's record setting broadband constellation. The mission about a Falcon nine rocket, blast that off from space launch complex 40 at the Cape Canaveral space for a station in Florida. It [00:09:00] was the sixth flight for the same.
Farka nine booster, which had last flown just 45 days earlier, setting a new turnaround record that booster then successfully landed a board, the drone ship. Of course, I still love you, which had been pre-positioned some 630 kilometers down range in the North Atlantic ocean. This latest Starling mission in space, X has now placed some 1,385 Starling satellites into orbit as part of their initial plans to have 1,440 satellites in their styling constellation.
The satellites are placed into 70 to 550 kilometer, high orbital planes, but it doesn't end there. Space X has already sought approval to launch some 30,000 more Starlink satellites. Astronomers, however, remain concerned about the effects such a massive constellation would have on their ability to undertake vital science.
The projects also sparking widespread community debate about the ethics of a [00:10:00] single company, uni laterally, changing the night skies, appearance set drastically. This is space time
and Tom had a check out the night skies of April on sky. Watch. April is the fourth month of the year and the Gregorian calendar and the fifth and the early Julian calendar. The Romans gave this month, the Latin name of Perlis. Although the names, origins aren't certain traditional entomology, she just is from the verb appar rare to open as in it being the season.
When the trees and flowers begin to open, as the Northern hemisphere moves into spring, April is also prevention of cruelty to animals month. And so it's a good time to consider adopting a shelter pet or donating to an animal welfare charity. [00:11:00] Hi in the Southern sky during April, you'll find the Southern cross.
And it's two point of stars, alpha and beta Suntory. The more this than that, the two point stars from the Southern cross is alpha centaury, which also happens to be the nearest star system to our own located. So 4.3 light years away after Suntory actually consists of three stars. Is alpha, centaury a and B, which orbit each other and proximate Suntory, which orbits the pear.
And at 4.2, five light is distant. It's currently the nearest start of the earth. Other than the sun, a light year is about 10 trillion kilometers. The distance of photon can travel in a year at 300,000 kilometers per second. The speed of light in a vacuum and the ultimate speed limit of the universe.
Like the sun after Suntory a is a spectral type G yellow dwarf star. It's slightly bigger having about a 10th more mass than the sun. And it's about 50% more than an RCT astronomers [00:12:00] describe stars in terms of special types, a classification system based on temperature and characteristics, the hottest most massive immerse luminous stars in a spectral type earth blue stars.
Yeah, followed by a spectral type B blue white stars, then spectral type a white stars, spectra type F whitish yellow stars, special type G yellow stars. That's where our son fits in. Spectrum type K are in stars and the coolest and least massive stars of all a special tie beam. Red dwarf stars. It's spectral classification is further subdivided using a numeric digit to represent temperature with zero being the hottest and nine, the coolest, and then a Roman numeral to represent luminosity.
So our son is a spectrum type G to V or G2 five yellow dwarf star also included in the stellar classification system, a special types L T and Y, which are assigned to failed stars [00:13:00] called Brown dwarves. These are sometimes born a special type in red dwarf stars, but become Brown dwarves after losing some of their mass Brown doors fit into a category between the largest planets, which were about 13 times, the mass of Jupiter and the smallest spectrum type Emirate, two of stars, which are around 75 to 80 times, the mass of Jupiter, or about 0.08, solar masses.
Albany in a binary system with alpha, centaury a is alpha Centauri B a spiritual type K orange dwarf star, a little smaller and cooler than the sun with about 0.9 times the sun's mass and about half its luminosity after Suntory a and B orbit each other around a common center of gravity, every 79.91 earth years.
The distance between the two stars varies between roughly that of Pluto and the sun, and that of satin in the sun. The third star in the system, Proxima Centauri sometimes called alpha centaury C is a [00:14:00] spiritual type Emirate dwarf star with roughly a seven that I am at a, at about an eighth, the mass of the sun.
It takes around 550,000 earth years to orbit alpha. Centaury a and B the nearer of the two point of stars to the Southern cross is beta Suntory. Also a triple star system that this one located a far more distant, 390 light years away. All three are massive young blue stars, far larger and more luminous than the sun.
Two of the stars named Beatrice and Tori a and beat us and Torrey a B or, but each other while the third star beta Suntory B orbits, the primary pair every 1500 earth years, bitter Suntory, AA, and AB. And then as a spectroscopic binary orbiting each other every 357 earth days. Spectroscopic. Binary's a double star systems opening each other so closely, and it's such an angle that they can only be visually separated from our point of view here on earth, at least by their [00:15:00] spectroscopic signatures.
Both these stars are now reaching the end of their time on the main sequence and will soon run out of the core hydrogen they use for fusion, the process, which makes stars like the sun shine. The two point it stars alpha and beta Suntory and named after siren the center, a mythological Greek being half man, half horse siren taught many of the Greek gods and heroes that was placed among the stars after accidentally being shot with a poison arrow by Hercules.
Next to the point of stars is the spectacular Southern cross or crux the smallest, but one of the best known of the 88 constellations in the sky. The Southern cross is considered an important constellation for navigation and is featured on the flags of several nations, including Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Samoa in April.
The Southern cross lies on its side in the early evening. It becomes more and more upright as the night progresses. The bottom [00:16:00] and brightest star in the Southern cross is alpha Crucis or a Crocs, which is actually a multiple star system located 321 light years away. It consists of three stars, a wine Crucis, which is a spectroscopic binary and ate two cruises ate two cruises in the primary star in a wine cruises, a birth spectral type, beat blue stars with surface temperatures of 26,020 8,000 Kelvin respectively.
The two components orbit each other every 1500 earth years at an average distance of around 430 astronomical units. An astronomical unit is the average distance between the earth and the sun, roughly 150 million kilometers or 8.3 light minutes. The spectroscopic binary, AYA and cruises is thought to comprise two stars with about 10 and 14 times the mass of the sun, respectively, the PEI orbit each other every 76 earth days at a distance of around 150 million [00:17:00] kilometers.
In other words, one astronomical unit. The masses of a two cruises and the logic component of a wine cruises are expected to eventually explode as core collapse, supernovae ending up as neutron stars while the smaller company, or have a one cruises could survive as a white dwarf. The left-hand and second brightest star in the Southern cross is called bigger cruises.
And it's also a spectroscopic binary consisting of two stars orbiting each other every five earth years at an average distance, which varies between 5.4 and 12 astronomical units. Beta cruises is located some 280 light years away. The primary star beater cruises a is a spectral type, beat, beat, a scifi variable blue star, which changes in brightness over a period of around four to four and a half hours.
It has about 16 times the sun's mass, about eight times its diameter at a surface temperature of some 27,000 Kelvin. By comparison, our sun is a surface temperature of [00:18:00] just 6,000, the second star of the system, beta Crucis B as about 10 solar masses. A third companion has also been detected in the system.
However, it appears to be a low mass pre-made sequence star, which hasn't yet commenced nuclear fusion. Neat. Beta cruises is the spectacular young open star cluster known as the Kappa Crucis cluster or NGC 47 55 M all commonly referred to as the jewel box. The name given to it by a famous 18th century astronomer John Herschel.
Open star clusters, uh, groups of stars, which were originally all born at the same time, out of the same collapsing, molecular gas and dust cloud, although somewhat still gravitationally bound to each other stars in open clusters, eventually separate moving to other parts of the galaxy. As the name suggests the jewel box is a stunning collection of more than a hundred bright colorful stars located some 6,440 light years away.
[00:19:00] Although its exact distance is somewhat difficult to determine because of the nearby coal SAC Nebula, which obscures some of the light. The core sec is a dark Nebula containing lots of gas and dust blocking out background stars. In Australian Aboriginal dream time legend the coal sack forms the head of the EMU constellation with a dark dasla into the Milky way, forming the emus body and legs, the central parts of the jewel box, uh, framed by BrightStars making up an, a shaped asterisk.
These are among the brightest known blue, white, and red supergiants in the Milky way. Gamma cruises, which is located at the top of the Southern cross is the third brightest star in the constellation. It's also one of the nearest red giants to our solar system. Okay. To just 88.6 light years away, although any 30% more massive than the sun it's expanded out of envelope is bloated at the sum 84 times the sun's radius.
And he's radiating some [00:20:00] 1500 times more luminosity than the sun as a red giant, no longer on the main sequence. Gamut cruises is nearing the end of its life. It's surface temperature is some 3,626 Kelvin, and it has a prominent reddish orange appearance. The star on the right-hand side of the Southern cross is Delta cruises, a massive, hot and rapidly rotating star.
That's in the process of evolving into a red giant, and will eventually end up as a white dwarf is still a corpse of sunlight stars. The other cruises is located some 345 light years away. There's about nine times the sun's mass and eight times its radius. It's presently radiating it around 10,000 times.
The luminosity of the sun at an effective temperature of 22,570 Kelvin causing it to glow with a blue, white hue. The smallest star in the Southern cross is Epsilon cruises, which is located in the space between Delta and alpha cruises. It's a red giant, some [00:21:00] 228 light years away. It is about 1.4, two times the mass of the sun.
And about 32 times its radius, its surface temperature of 4,148. Kelvin means it's sometimes referred to as an orange giant. The Southern cross is at its highest point of the Southern sky this time of year. And he's pointing directly at the Southern so celestial pole. It's within the constellations and tourists, the center, the half man, half horse of great mythology.
We mentioned earlier, the creature is holding a bow loader with an arrow. The center, his front leg is marked by the two pointer stars, alpha and beta Centaurus his back arches over the Southern cross. And just above. This is a mega Suntory, a spectacular globular cluster, visible with the unaided eye from dark locations.
Unlike OpenStack clusters, globular clusters attack tax-free it's containing thousands to millions of stars, which were originally all thought or being born at [00:22:00] the same time from the same molecular gas and dust cloud. The mega Suntory is about 16,000 light years away. It's one of the largest and brightest of the hundreds of globular clusters known to orbit around the Milky way.
Galaxy. Since tourists was included among the 48 constellations listed by the second century astronomy Ptolemy. And it remains one of the 88 modern day constellations. The constellation of Ryan, the Hunter is still clearly visible in the Northwest than sky. This time of year, whether it's rectangle of four stars, surrounded by a central trail of stars, which former Ryan spilt.
To the right or East of ARIDE is the constellation Gemini. And it's two brightest stars. Paul ax and Casta. This time of year, the Gemini twins are almost directly due North for Southern hemisphere. Sky watches. The higher of the two stars. Paul Polacks is a red giant, some 11 times that I am out of the sun and located just 34 light is away.
[00:23:00] The other star Casta is much further away, some 51 light years. Look to the yeast and you'll see the star Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation of Leo, the lion Regulus, which means a little King is located 77 light years away. And it's about three and a half times as massive as the sun at about 140 times as luminous Regulus is a binary companion star, which takes 130,000 years to orbit the primary to the right of regulars and virtually juiced in the sky right now is the star spiker.
Located directly below the four stars in the constellation. Corvus. The Crow sparker is the brightest star in the constellation Virgo also known as alpha Virginis it's the 16th brighter star and the night sky. And is another spectroscopic binder, sorry, comprising two stars, closely orbiting each other every four earth days.
In fact, the two stars in spike are orbiting so close together that the gravitational interaction [00:24:00] between them has caused them to become rotating epitheloid variables, distorting them into the shape of a rugby league or Gridiron football light from this binary changes in brightness as the two stars orbit each other, exposing their elongated hemispheres to us.
Spiker is located some 260 light years away. It is some, 2000 times as luminous as the sun. Spiker means air of wheat, which Virgo is holding in her hand. It's so named because it marks the start of the harvest season in the Northern hemisphere. The primary is a blue, giant variable better Cepheids, which only goes small, rapid variations in brightness because of pulsations in the star surface thought to be caused by the unusual properties of iron at temperatures of 200,000 degrees in the stellar interior.
It is about 10 times the sun's mass and about seven and a half times its diameter once a spiritual type B blue white main sequence star. It's now pulsating rapidly [00:25:00] rotating at more than 199 kilometers per second, over 0.1738 earth day period. It's one of the nearest stars to the earth, which is expected to end its life as a type two core collapse supernova.
The second star in the system is also thought to be a spiritual type B blue, white, giant, about seven solar masses and 3.6 times the suns diameter. Okay. Going back to the Southern cross and looking to the right or West, you'll see the star. Canopius it's the second brightest star in the night sky after Sirius.
Even though it can, Opus is 312 light years away. It looks incredibly bright because it's huge a hundred times that I am under the sun and 10,000 times as luminous this year, second major media or shower, the lyrebirds will peak on April the 22nd and 23rd. The Lyra ads appear to radiate out from the constellation Lyra, close to the star Vega.
One of the brightest stars in the sky this time of year. The source of the media or [00:26:00] shower, uh, particles of dust and debris shed by the long period, comet C 1861 G one Thatcher sky watches in the Northern hemisphere. Get the best view of the lyrebirds. However, listeners at mid Southern hemisphere latitudes can also see the shower between midnight and Dawn patient observers will be rewarded with around 18 media per hour before Dawn from dark Skyler occasions.
And now with a look at what else is happening in the April night skies we're joined by Jonathan Nellie editor of Australian sky telescope magazine. Yeah, well, it's April and it's when I passed the Equinox. So down here in the Southern half of the planet where I heading into autumn or fall, as they would call it in most places in the Northern hemisphere and up in the Northern hemisphere heading into spring, the first down here, we're slowly shifting towards our winter constellations.
So as the night falls, the Milky way is up there and we can see it stretching right across the sky from the Southeast. To the Northeast during the first half of the night or the early morning hours tended a little bit on its axis, the Milky way are we stretching from the [00:27:00] Southwest to the movies? So it seems to change direction that's because the earth is changing direction as we rotate.
And as the night rolls on some of the more familiar constellations and the famous constellations of summer are beginning to drop out of view in the West, such as that as prostitution like Taurus and Orion, other ones such as Kim and I, and Leo are still there in the night sky to the North. Northern part of the night sky for us down here in the South and captured the staff, the people in the North, but still around, just for a little while longer.
And what we in the Southern hemisphere calls a winter constellations and rising some of the really good ones. In fact, me that secretary Scorpius and Capricorn. And people might not have heard of Aquilla, but I've probably heard of secretaries at school. These are particularly amazing secretaries of school.
In particular, all you need is a pair of binoculars and summary doc, and you can just spend hours and hours just sweeping up and down the link of this part of the Milky way, admiring all the staff fields and the star clusters and manipulating things. Particularly if you can get her away from luck pollution, don't go outside on the [00:28:00] front yard and stand up underneath the streetlight because you're just not going to see anything.
So you got to get to some way, doc. Even if it's in the backyard, just blocking out as much as you possibly can. I work in the city, but if you're a city slicker like me, that doesn't seem to help at all. Yeah. You only can do this, do your best. Just try. And if there's a light, that's annoying, you're trying to stick behind a wall around, behind a wall or block it out somehow, even if you have to go inside into a room and look out through, open the, open the window and look out through the windows.
So you just. Walking, any direct light, you don't want direct light coming into your eye. You want your eye to be as dark as possible. Most of the light pollution that affects you is within about three or righties or about three kilometers or about a mile and a half, two miles on the side. If you can get to a spot, you know, go to a park or a sports field or something, or talking about midnight or whatever,
[00:29:00] dark areas, sports field. Yes. I think would be very interested in that. Make sure you take it, probably Australia's gone until the staff, along with you with a stock shot opened up in the middle so that you can, you can, you can demonstrate what you're doing, but yeah, just try and get away from as much light as you can.
It is very hard in the city. Um, and of course the lady you leave it at night time too. Then a lot of lights get turned off. Yeah. And your aunt just said the street lights around you, a house lights flashing had been turned off, or you can just do your best. No, no. In fact, it's not. That is it. Article light is basically light that's reflected from dust in the solar system.
In fact, if you can say that, if you can say that, that means you've got really good docs gone. It isn't bright. And then there's something that astronomers love to go out and see, because it's something you don't see often if you're certainly not going to see it from the, uh, the city. So no, it's, if you can see there's a diaper, right.
Then really that's an indicator that you have some really seriously bad skies. [00:30:00] And, and that's a great thing to see because I'm not sure I've never seen it to be honest, just faint glow and particular region of the sky through the sort of region or the act, the path across the sky where the sun and the moon.
Drown out, other things, other things drown out . Yeah. So, um, now if you could just offer some Outback stars or out in the desert, or just anywhere rural lots of lights, and you might have a chance of seeing that. And that, that is a good indication that you've got some docs gone. So if you've got some doctor eyes swept through the movie, why we keep it Oculus, or even if you got a little telescope, you can have a lecture as well.
In the early evening, we've got the Southern cross nice and high down in the South of this time of the year, but the Brightstar nervous. Hi in the South Southwest, that's the brightest star in the constellation Corrina and the second brightest star in the sky and the brightest star in the sky. Serious for us here in the Southern hemisphere, at least is almost overhead in the early evening from a latitude of a roundabout Sydney.
You [00:31:00] just can't miss serious. It is the brightest star. In the night sky, it gets really beautiful. In fact, now I mentioned Karina that's constellation. Corina cannabis is the brightest style. Grab hold of a star map, such as the one you can find in Australians on telescope and use it to find Corina, then grab your binoculars and start sweeping through the staff fields.
In this area of the sky, I mentioned Sagittarius and school and how you can sweep around with binoculars there, get your binoculars into the area of Corrina, because the joy of living in the Southern half of the planet, we think that this, this area of Corrina is just as good. If not better than the Sagittarius school area, it is just glorious.
If you've got some nice dark guys and you've been, you've got some binoculars, it's gives you a wide field of view and you can take a nice sweeping staff. You'll think it just takes your breath away. Sweep from. Corina go to the left from Corina and you'll come to the Southern cross. That looks amazing as well.
You're one of the stars of the Southern cross. You'll see a little cluster of stars called the Juul box because [00:32:00] the stars are multicolored in there. That's really beautiful. And just beside the Southern cross and about the same size of the Southern cross is a big dark patch that appears to have no staff.
And that's called the calls for obvious reasons, the calls sec, and as a P as doc, simply because it's a big cloud of dust and it's blocking the light, all the stars behind. That's really quite impressive to say to you. And you can say that with the naked eye, if you get to some really dark guys, you just see the Southern cross.
Big doc patch. It's really quite impressive. Keep going along from the Southern cross and you get to the, what we call the two pointers. They start called the two points, which are quite close together and they're famous pair of stocks. And cool. The point is because if you draw a line through them, it more or less points directly to the Southern cross.
One of those stars is that. It's a double, possibly triple strap system with a little tiny stock will approximate supply, which you can't see. Let's talk about the planet. And as far as the planets go at the moment for this month, we have some good news and we have some [00:33:00] bad news. And the bad news is that mercury and Venus will be either hard or impossible to see this month of April.
Mercury is very low in the Eastern sky just before Dawn during the first part of the month. So low in fact that you probably wouldn't be able to see it because you have trees or houses or something in the way it's going to disappear into the sound's gray as it heads around the other side of the sun from us and reaches.
Strongest called superior conjunction, which just means it's in the same direction as something else. In this case, the, the sun and superior means it's on the other side. And inferior conjunction would mean that it's on the same side of the sun as we are. And that would mean that it's bearing in between the sun and hospital.
Superior conjunction, Venus easing superior conjunction during April, it's already around the other side of the sun. So we can't see that any that could have lost in the sunscreen. Both of those planets will return to our skies in may in next month. So, um, they're not going to be gone forever. Good. Old, dependable Mars is visible during April for us here in the Southern hemisphere.
It's in the Northwestern sky [00:34:00] after sunset, and there are a couple of things to watch for this month. First of all on April the 17th, you'll see the moon and Mars close together in the sky. And this makes for a really easy way to identify Mars. If you're having trouble telling it apart from the surrounding stuff, all you need to do is breath on the 17th, find the moon.
And then the nearest brackish reddish star looking thing nearby will actually be the planet Mars. So that, that makes it really easy. And then once you know where that is, you can go out the next night and you can see what, imagine the moon will have moved. The men might be in the same spot as the moon moves each night, but Mars won't have moved dramatically from one night to the other.
Now, another thing with Maya's is to take a look on the night of the 27th, because you'll see Mars right next to our cluster of stars nine, as messy as 35. This is a beautiful open cluster of stars. There are sort of a random pattern and you need a fairly wide field of view. Optical instrument like binoculars or a small telescope in order to see this, to be able to see Mars and all [00:35:00] these little stars in the background with it as well.
I see a 35 is sound like a strange sort of name. It's number 35 in the list of objects for Paul by a French astronomer called Charles yet in the 18th century, he was a fellow who was looking for comments enough to look for comments and some of these. What we call deep sky, they stock clusters and other things.
When you look at the true small telescopes to the car and he would have had, and particularly with maybe some optics that weren't the best, not as good as optically would have. Now, he would look through these things and initially that would look a bit light and then he would realize, Hey, it's not a comment.
So he made this list of things that he'd found in the night sky so that he, he wouldn't forget them. He would know where they are and what they were. So the next time we went out and saw something and thought, Holly said a comment on that. That's not a comic. I saw this, I saw that thing last month and it's just a
catalog deep sky.
[00:36:00] Astronomers everywhere, because while he was interested in comments, other astronomers were interested in things like star clusters and all the stuff that he put on his list. So that's why we still remember his name and the other two bright planets that we can see are in the Eastern half of the night sky.
In the early morning hours, I'm talking about Jupiter and seven. You can't miss them, but you have to be up between the two brightest. See in the Eastern part of the sky after midnight, Jupiter is the brighter. It looks sort of big and bright and white and seven is just a little bit, and it has a yellowish tinge to it.
If you've got small telescope or you can borrow one or Knight has got one or a family member or friend or whatever, You can have a look at Jupiter and Saturn and Jupiter. You you'll be able to see in a bit of detail on its, in its atmosphere if got a big enough telescope. And you're certainly seeing some of the larger moons that Galileo Galilean learns circle because Caroline was the first guy to spot them.
That'll be sort of spread out on one side or the [00:37:00] other, or two on two on one side and two on the other little three on one side, one on the other side of the planet. Depending on the size of the telescope, you should be able to sing a bit of, at least it won't be a point of light in the spinal cord is what I'm trying to say.
You will see a planet and you hopefully you'll see the rings as well. And the rings are tilted pretty nicely. The orders at the moment, I think about 17 degrees or so as the. Oh, that's the sun and the year after year and a seven over at the sun year after year. And regardless, it's a slightly different angle at orbits to the sun.
Eventually it gets to the point where the line of side effect lines up that Saturn's rings appear to disappear. If that makes any sense, we actually seen them get an edge on. So that's kind of happened. I think, I can't remember exactly when, sometime on the next page, but sometimes say, and we will see, um, It's really, really seen, which is quite amazing to see
where the ring's gone. That's quite [00:38:00] amazing to see as well. Yes, that's Jonathan, Nalli the editor of Australian sky and telescope magazine. And don't forget if you're having trouble getting your copy of Australian sky and telescope magazine from your usual retailer because of the current lockdown and travel restrictions, and always get a print or digital subscription and have the magazine delivered directly to your letterbox or inbox.
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